|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Rajnath congratulates Mahajan on elevation
Sheela Bhatt in Mumbai | December 30, 2005 16:46 IST
Rajnath Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party's president-designate, when asked to comment on former prime minister A B Vajpayee's remark on Thursday that Lal Kishenchand Advani and Pramod Mahajan will be the party's Ram-Lakshman and guide it in future, told rediff.com that he has already congratulated Mahajan.
Asked if he felt upset when Vajpayee ranked Mahajan along with Advani and not him, Singh reacted, "Why? Why should I feel bad? I congratulated Pramodji. He is our charismatic leader. He deserves it."
Asked about his own lack of charisma, Singh said with a smile, "I am what I am. I am proud of it. Fortunately or unfortunately I am rooted in villages and I don't regret the fact."
Singh expressed confidence that in a few days time the party will come out with a series of new programme that will convey new clarity in its thinking.
Singh will take over as BJP president on January 2 at 9.30 am, a time arrived at after consultations over its auspiciousness. He is unlikely to spell out his vision of the BJP's agenda on the same day.
Majahan, who has been declared no.2 in the BJP by Vajpayee, will however remain a few notches above the new party president.
And not without reason. In 1986, when Mahajan was president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing, Singh was his general secretary.
Rajnath Singh is likely to lead a new team of office-bearers, and the BJP will implement `collective leadership' in the coming years.
Advani is likely to retain his halo of being the `first among equals' for some time.
Mahajan will play `guide' to Singh and kingmaker at the party's highest forum.
While other heavyweights like Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley will lie low for some time, Sushma Swaraj is likely to come to terms with Mahajan's elevation; her focus for the time being is more on her health.
If Mahajan is accepted as a force within the party among the next generation leaders,
it is bound to ruffle a few feathers among old-timers and conservative Hindutva hawks- among them Gujarat Chief Minister Modi.
The Singh-Mahajan duo will represent the rural-urban combine, farmers welfare
and development. Singh will appeal to the grass-root cadres while Mahajan will carry his charisma to the masses.
But the challenge before Singh will be to handle the Hindutva issue without losing focus of development.
He will find it difficult to counter Kalyan Singh, who has already dared the party to take up Hindutva. Singh will have to respond to the challenge.
While Mahajan has more enemies than friends within the BJP's young leadership, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will lie low for the time being because of the Sanjay Joshi sex scandal. But Vajpayee's certificate for him will carry credibility only when Mahajan proves he can be a good team leader, too.
The Mahajan camp says he is neither apologetic nor elated over Vajpayee's announcement, but while talking informally to the media today, Mahajan could not stop smiling.
And why not, to be the party's face after Vajpayee and Advani is no mean achievement. And, none other than Vajpayee has crowned him.